In a week of rain events and long delays in Atlanta, Chicago and Minneapolis, the most dramatic and spectacular developed in Cleveland Saturday night as thunder crashed the summer night and rain drops drummed steadily on Progressive Field.
Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor stepped to the plate in the bottom of the 10th inning with his team tied 1-1 with the visiting Toronto Blue Jays. As rain fell around him, Lindor sent a pitch soaring high and deep into the night, spinning through rain drops toward the Cleveland skyline. Four-hundred and thirty-eight feet later, the ball splashed into the right field bleachers where hundreds of Tribe fans, a few clad in rain gear, celebrated their team’s much-needed walk off win.
The scene was set in the top half of inning as thunder roared through downtown and around the ballpark, but the rain held off until two pitches into Lindor’s at bat.
“Believe it or not, my first reaction when it started raining was like ‘Oh, the ball is going to go nowhere now,’” Lindor said after the game. “Then I stepped out and thought if I hit it hard on the ground, it will go through. And it went up and it carried.'”
The game-winner was Lindor’s first-ever walk-off homer in the rain… OK, it was first ever walk-off home run, period.
The Reds and Marlins began their three-game series Friday night with an hour and 47-minute delayed start at Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park. After things got going, Christian Yelich drove in two runs to help the Marlins to 3-1 win. It was the Reds’ fourth rain delay of the season.
Rain struck hard and fast in Chicago Wednesday night, leading to the game between the White Sox and Dodgers to be called after seven innings. It was as good as over anyway as the Dodgers held an eight-run lead at the time of the delay.
Umpires sent the players off the field and called for the tarp at 10:09 p.m. Chicago time with the Dodgers batting in the top of the eighth. Thirty-seven minutes later, the game was called at 10:46 p.m. with the ballpark mostly empty of spectators.
Los Angeles won 9-1 and went on to sweep the brief two-game series.
[Photo of White Sox head groundskeepers Roger Bossard covering the field in the eighth inning as rain began to fall.]
If there was moaning coming from SunTrust Park early Monday evening, it wasn’t the usual incessant sound coming Braves fans performing that annoying Tomahawk Chop. The sound more likely was grumbling from Atlanta fans having to wait out an hour-long rain delay before watching their team lose to the Chicago Cubs.
The Cubbies, who are climbing back into the National League Central race, slapped the Braves 4-3.
Also on Monday, the Twins finished off the Yankees 4-2 just before a heavy rain zeroed in on Target Field. Twins’ closer Brandon Kintzler pitched a perfect ninth inning as rain began soaking the ballpark.
First-pitch temperature hit 88 degrees and may have caused some difficulty for Minnesota starter Aldaberto Mejia as he battled six innings effectively through the humid night.
“I was throwing hard overall,” the Dominican pitcher said. “I think the temperature got to me a little bit. Other than that, it was a good outing.”
— Mace Michaels (@macemichaels) July 18, 2017
Twins’ meteorologist Mace Michaels posted the above photo showing a soaked Target Field moments after the game. Michaels, by the way, is a great Twitter follow for all your Twins weather news and updates.
Heaving rain, strong winds and fierce lightning stormed through Arlington, Texas, Tuesday night, delaying the game between the Rangers and Chicago White Sox for an hour and 18 minutes.
The Rangers led the first-place White Sox 2-1 when the storm interrupted the game as the third inning was set to begin. In the below video from the Dallas Morning News, you can the grounds crew scurrying to stretch the tarp over the field as rain and wind blew throughout Globe Life Park and fans sought shelter.
As for the game, the White Sox put nine runs on the board over the third and fourth innings to take a 10-5 lead. With that score, you couldn’t blame the Rangers if they did a little rain dance in hopes of nixing the game altogether.
In the meantime…what do you think about our rain dance? pic.twitter.com/qCBYbkulgy
— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) May 11, 2016
But the home team rallied with seven runs in the eighth inning, winning 13-11.
With the rain delay and tons of scoring, the game ended four hours and 40 minutes after the first pitch was tossed.
The two teams play a 1:05 p.m. local time matinee Wednesday with only a 15 percent chance of rain and game-time temperatures hovering around 84 degrees. Nice!
Elsewhere… heavy rain got the best of the Reds and Pirates Tuesday night. A make-up game has not been announced, and the Reds said there will not be a doubleheader on Wednesday or Thursday.
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) May 11, 2016
Buck Showalter insists he has more important things to do than dream up nefarious field tarp schemes to one-up his competition.
Hours ahead of Tuesday’s game with the Yankees at Camden Yards, Showalter’s Orioles took their cuts in batting practice and promptly left the field. Before the Yankees could get in their much-need pre-game swings, the Orioles grounds crew stretched the tarp over the infield dirt.
Yankees skipper Joe Girardi cried foul. “They hit and they’re covering the field,’’ Girardi said, according the New York Post.
In an interview with the Michael Kay Show the following day, Showalter laughed off the gamesmanship accusation and explained the reasons the field was covered.
“Basically, we got a weather report that it was going to start raining at 5 o’clock, so we started our BP, actually, early and got off the field early so they would have an opportunity,” the Orioles manager said. “And they [the Baltimore grounds crew] came up and said it was going to start raining in five minutes and they had to cover the field in order to keep the field from getting, you know, too wet to play.”
Rainy, yucky weather has plagued the Orioles the first this season, but on this Tuesday, not one noticeable drop fell from the sky. However, the tarp remained and the Yankees, who can’t seem to hit anything these and were swept in three games in Boston, were robbed of their opportunity to hit on the field.
In the seemingly lighthearted interview, Kay asked Showalter, “You didn’t dream this up to affect the Yankees?”
Still chuckling a bit, Showalter said, “Mike, come on,” and went on to say he didn’t think Girardi “insinuated anything” with is comments.
Showalter, however, seemed unhappy that the accusations had upset the Orioles’ head groundskeeper. “I know one thing. Somebody complained, because they called and our groundskeeper, who I think is the best in the business and one of the fairest going – she is really good – probably as good as I’ve ever seen… and she was upset today that someone had insinuated that,” Showalter said. “And she said, ‘why would anybody insinuate that?’ I said, ‘well, that’s the world we live in.’”
Bad weather hit the Orioles again Friday. Rain postponed the team’s series opener that night with the Oakland Athletics. The postponement was announced 30 minutes before the scheduled first pitch, and the two teams made up the game Saturday with the A’s taking an 8-4 victory. Baltimore claimed a 5-2 win in the regularly scheduled night game.
The postponement was the Orioles’ second at Camden Yards this season and third overall. A road game with the Texas Rangers in Arlington was postponed on April 17.
The Orioles have also endured 3 hours and 35 minutes worth of weather delays this season in games that have been played. On Opening Day, rain pushed back the first pitch of the season by 110 minutes. More inclement weather delayed the contest an additional 70 minutes after the completion of the second inning.
In the radio interview, Kay asked Showalter if the rain, snow and cold most affected the pitchers or the hitters.
“You know, I think you got to split it down the middle,” the manger said. “We’ve had games were the guys had no feel for the breaking ball because they couldn’t feel the ball.”
Showalter showed sympathy for the Baltimore fans as well, noting the weather’s effect on filling seats in the ballpark.
“I feel bad about the fans. You know, it’s really hurt our attendance because the weather has been so bad,” Showalter said. “We’re playing the Yankees, which are usually a good draw. Nobody will come out in it, yet we’re playing in it.”
Fans wanting to see the Reds and Brewers play at Great American Ball Park Sunday had to wait nearly two hours for the rain to move out and the field to be prepped before the game could begin Sunday. After the 1 hour and 55 minute delay, Milwaukee beat the home town Reds 5-4.
The Brewers have sat through a little more than four hours of weather delays in the season’s first month.
It’s Bud. He’s our guy!
No, wait. It’s Dusty.
Last week as the World Series wrapped up, news breaking out of Washington about who the Nationals intended to hire as the team’s next manager left us confused as Yoenis Cespedes in the center field.
But things were sorted out over a couple of days, and we learned that indeed Dusty Baker had been hired as the team’s sixth manager. I have to admit, I never was excited about Bud Black, and in the beginning, I was even less excited about Baker.
You know, all the chatter about Dusty ruining pitchers’ arms and despising on-base percentage will do that to a fella.
The more I heard Dusty speak, however, the more I liked the idea of him managing my Washington Nationals. Listening to Dusty speak will do that to a fella, ya know.
For The Rainout Blog, I thought it would be fun to go back through the years of Dusty’s managing days with the Cubs, Giants and Reds to see if I can find any evidence of how he managed his starting pitchers through those days when bad weather delayed games in the early innings and he had to make the tough decision to go with his starter or give the ball to a long reliever.
That information might be tough to find, but I still wanted to give it a modest go. I’m not going to spend days on this.
So, I Googled “Dusty Baker rain,” thinking that was a good place to start. I’ll probably find nothing, I thought, in the 10 minutes I’m allotting myself on this, likely, fruitless endeavor.
The first item to pop up in the search was this MLB.com story from 2011, when Dusty was managing in Cincinnati. The headline read: “Dusty Baker still seeing Red over rain delay.”
My 10 minutes were competed in less than 10 seconds.
Here’s a quick synopsis of the article in case, for some reason, you’re not into reading about baseball rain delays as much as I am: Early in the 2011 season, the Reds were playing the Cardinals in St. Louis. A large storm was approaching the area. The home team Cardinals decided to go with a reliever instead of their scheduled starter. Dusty claims he wasn’t given sufficient information regarding the approaching storm – it turned out to be a pretty bad storm around the area – and went ahead with his starting pitcher for the day. Six pitches into the game, rains came and the game was delayed 2 hours and 10 minutes. The Cardinals, after starting a reliever, brought in to pitch their originally scheduled starter after the rain delay. Dusty got mad.
Was there a lack of communications on the Cardinals end?
“I lost my pitcher. And we lost the game,” Baker said the night after his Reds lost the delayed game 4-2 to the Cardinals. “I was upset because we still had action on winning that game, plenty of action.”
One of the positives you hear about Dusty is he’s a players manager who will fight for his team. You would think that would be a basic element of Baseball Managing 101, but as we’ve all learned thought the years of watching the game, it simply isn’t basic at all.
Dusty has taken each team he has managed to the playoffs, and he’s going to do a good job in Washington.
Yeah, I’m still bullish on this team.
None of us are certain who all will be on the field and in the dugout when the Nationals open the 2016 season, but I’m confident Dusty will get the most out whomever is wearing the Curly W… rain or shine.
I’ve been writing The Rainout Blog for a little more than nine years, and a few times I’ve crafted posts stating something like “Hey, it may rain at the baseball game tonight,” or “Look out for snow at Sunday’s football game” only for the predicted precipitation to be a no-show.
For the sake of fans who attended those events, like last night’s Home Run Derby in Cincinnati, I’m happy the wet stuff stayed away.
However, rain was the big story leading up to the Monday night long ball contest. There were countless stories, including the one on this website, about the threat of heavy rain and thunderstorms. There even were reports of tornado sirens.
And then last night… the only objects that fell out of the sky – that I’m aware of – were baseballs blasted from the bats of sluggers like Todd Frazier, Kris Bryant and Joc Pederson.
— Enquirer (@Enquirer) July 14, 2015
It was a great night – judging from my comfy seat in the man cave – and a great show. But the empty threat of the whole darn thing being potentially shut down because of rain, and then it didn’t happen, has led me to this decision: I’m never, ever writing another story about a sporting event potentially being affected by bad weather.
Now, I know the All-Star game is tonight in Cincinnati, and yeah, there’s potential for thunderstorms around an hour before the game starts and then a chance of rain, according to Accuweather.com, an hour after the first pitch, but I’m not writing a post about it.
I know you all are super stoked about watching guys like Prince Fielder and Todd Frazier blast baseballs out of Great American Ball Park in tonight’s Home Run Derby.
So, I hate to break the news to you: There’s a good chance – a really good chance – the weather in Cincinnati tonight will be a showstopper.
— Steve Petyerak (@StevePetyerak) July 11, 2015
The Queen City forecast says “several rounds of showers and thunderstorms will be possible today and tonight” with a chance of severe storms tonight. “The primary severe weather threat will be damaging winds and locally heavy rainfall,” says the statement from the National Weather Service.
The Home Run Derby is scheduled for 8 p.m. Eastern. According to Accuweather.com, there is a 49 percent chance of rain at 8 and 9 p.m., and a 56 percent chance around 10 p.m. While we’re looking at forecasts, the extended breakdown into Tuesday shows thunderstorms leading up to the All-Star Game, but clearing skies around the time of the first pitch at 8-ish.
Last year, sluggers were forced to wait out a 54-minute rain delay before popping baseballs into the atmosphere at Target Field in Minneapolis.
It has been 27 years since rain canceled a Home Run Derby, which also was in Cincinnati.
How ‘bout that?!?!
— Sporting News (@sportingnews) July 13, 2015
Miguel Cabrera hits baseballs that can burst clouds.
— #VoteTigers (@tigers) June 18, 2015
You may remember Cabrera hit his 400th career home run last month in St. Louis, and shortly thereafter, heavy rain suspended the game for an hour and 20 minutes.
Cabrera did it again Wednesday night in Cincinnati. The Tigers’ slugger sent a Johnny Cueto fastball the opposite way, deep into the right-field seats at the Reds’ Great American Ball Park. The blast gave Detroit a 3-2 lead.
Before Cueto could toss another pitch, the Reds’ field crew dragged out the tarp to cover the field as the rain fall became heavier. The game was delayed for an hour and 14 minutes.
When played resumed, the Reds tied the game at 3-3, sending the contest into extra innings. Those Reds fans who waited through the storm and few extra frames were treated to exciting finish when third baseman Todd Frazier hit a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the 14th inning.
The homer, Frazier’s second of the game and his fourth in two games, gave Cincinnati an 8-4 win early Thursday morning.
Let’s go to the video tape:
A rainy, messy night in Washington delayed the game between the Nationals and Tampa Bay Rays for about 27 minutes. The Rays, who play their home games in a dome and don’t get out much – experience their first weather delay of the season.
The rain in Washington was the impetus for one of the best quotes of the night. This one came from Nats’ skipper Matt Williams when talking to reporters after the game about a particular not-so-pretty play form his team in the field.
“It’s raining like cats and dogs and other creatures,” Williams said. “Slick ball.
But you know what’s funnier? A guy wrestling with a poncho at Nationals Park. Take it away Bob and F.P. (Wait. Do ponchos come with directions?)
You know what’s not funny? That could easily be me someday. Easily!